Dogs bark for Barack and ‘McCanine’ |

Dogs bark for Barack and ‘McCanine’

Linda Lombardi
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado

Maybe it was inevitable in a year when one candidate’s first name is only two letters different from “bark,” but this election has really gone to the dogs.

Your pup can wear a T-shirt to support “Bark Obama” and “John McCanine” or to announce that he wants to “Bark for Barack.” He can play with a toy to say goodbye to George Bush, and even pick a biscuit according to the party he supports.

In fact, in more than one place, the dogs have even been polled ” but if you’re hoping for a prediction, don’t hold your breath.

Tomoko Kawasumi of the Organic Doggy Kitchen in Falls Church, Va., got the idea for a dog biscuit poll from her two huskies. When she offered them her Political Dog Biscuits, Kiki always chose the elephant and Koby the donkey, even though they’re baked from the exact same dough.

Kawasumi took the idea on the road, and in some cases, dogs seemed to toe the local political line. It was no surprise that elephants were preferred at a fundraiser for the animal shelter in conservative Alexandria, Va. And at a grand opening event at the Living Ruff pet boutique in liberal Silver Spring, Md., donkey biscuits were chosen twice as often as elephants.

But the pups don’t always go along with their people, politically. At the Washington Humane Society’s Bark Ball in June, elephant cookies won out, a stunning upset in traditionally blue Washington, D.C. Some are taken aback to find that their dog chooses the biscuit of the opposing party.

“The owners get very upset,” Kawasumi says. “Sometimes they say, ‘You’re not sleeping with me tonight!'”

As in any race, some are not satisfied with the choices.

“We have some people who are upset that we don’t have an independent doggie biscuit,” Kawasumi says, but that’s less a political statement than a practical problem: “We don’t know what it would look like.”

So perhaps the occasional dog who turns up his nose at both biscuits isn’t just a fussy eater. But there are choices for the undecided or independent canine, too: He can get involved in the change of administration with toys and treats commemorating the end of the Bush years.

At the Bush’s Last Day Web site, there’s the Bush Biskit ” the wrapper includes the line “Crunch Crunch He’s Gone.” And both dogs and cats can enjoy the George the Lame Duck toy from The stuffed Bush-faced duck on crutches wears a cast signed by his friends including Condi, Rummy and K-Ro, and he comes in a catnip version as well as a large squeaky toy.

And if your dog’s first choice has dropped out of the race, he may take comfort in the floppy-armed stuffed Hillary dog toy at, which also offers a John McCanine who doesn’t seem to realize that someone’s taped a note to his back saying “I’m 301 dog years old!”

“Polling” elsewhere shows that pets may well be the swing voters in their homes.

“Sometimes we get an order for an extra small Obama and an extra large McCanine and we wonder what’s going on in that household,” says Psychedelic Fur company owner Lori Lambert.

Lambert says that at first, they sold more of the Bark Obama products, which she figured was because the dog-dressing-up demographic tended to occur on the coasts, where Obama support was strong.

“But we were very wrong,” she says. “Now we are getting orders from all over the nation.”

Orders for the McCanine shirt went up after a dog wearing it appeared in a photo in People. Since then, the order tally, which you can follow on their Web site, has shown that the race is just as close among canine-Americans as the population in general, hovering around 50-50.

Kawasumi says that even her previously consistent Huskies have gotten less clear about their choices since watching the conventions with her.

“The campaign is heating up,” she says. “I think the attack ads are making them confused.”

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